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Happy 52nd Birthday to the Discothèque

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The discothèque has become such a major part of our nights out that we tend to think that they’ve always been around. But there was a day, long ago, when people would go out to dance to actual bands! When folks in the 40s would go to a club and listen to music, they weren’t listening to records, there was a group of living, breathing musicians in the corner cranking out their favorite hits. While many musicians will argue the fact that spinning records is as much of an art form as playing an instrument, the fact remains, people love dancing to records spun by a top-notch DJ.

DJ Heinrich and his rig.

Today marks the 52nd birthday of the discothèque. Like many origin stories, the discothèque came into existence largely by accident. On October 19, 1959, The Scotch-Club, a restaurant in Aachen, Germany re-opened as a dancehall. The owner didn’t want to hire a band so he used a record player instead. On the opening night, the audience was quickly becoming bored with the record player format so, Klaus Quirini, a newspaper reporter covering the event, took over the record player and spiced things up by announcing the songs, throwing in his own witty comments and encouraging the audience to participate in games. The night was a hit and word began to spread outside of town about Klaus and his unique record-spinning technique, making Klaus, unwittingly, the world’s first DJ. The Scotch-Club therefore became the world’s first discothèque and DJ Heinrich, as Klaus then became known, inspired others to follow suit. He even encouraged DJs to organize a workers’ union, turning disc jockeying into an official profession.

The legendary Studio 54.

From Germany the trend spread to places like Jamaica, where the DJ became, often times, a bigger celebrity than the bands whose songs he was playing. Jamaican DJs like Prince Buster, Sir Coxsone Dodd and Duke Reid built custom sound-systems so dancers could feel more bass and be more encouraged to dance, they made the first dance re-mixes, called “versions” that isolated the drum and bass and extended the length of the original tracks and the DJs started “toasting” over records. Toasting was sing-song, rhyming boasts and limericks, that was the first incarnation of “rapping.” New York kids heard Jamaican dancehall stylings through DJ Kool Herc, who brought his Herculoids sound system to the Bronx in the early 70s and laid the foundation for what would eventually become hip-hop.

The disco DJs of the mid to late 70s really solidified our vision of what a discothèque is: mirror balls, bright lights, booming sound-systems, two turntables, cross-fading and mash-ups of hot dance tracks and of course, a clientèle that’s dressed to the nines and ready to party. The DJ became the star at clubs like Studio 54 and eventually, with the rise of electronic music, they started to compose their own tracks; relying less on pre-recorded records.

In honor of the discothèque and the DJ, we encourage you to attend one of the many events we have that feature DJs this weekend. It’s been a crazy 52 years and while we love live music, we’re glad the DJs are out there keeping us on the dance floor until the wee morning hours.


Friday, October 21

Discotheque 3000- ft Sergio Santos, Suntzu Sound, OFDM + Joel PrydeSeattle, Washington You’re invited to join Classcadia for a very special inaugural event at the Electric Tea Garden. For their first outing they’ll be going on a ten-hour trip through space and time with class and style. Our disco starship will be guided out of the atmosphere by these galactically-renowned pilots: Sergio Santos (Culprit, Wolf & Lamb), Suntzu Sound (TRUST, City Soul), Joel Pryde (Classcadia, Traxpad), and OFDM (Classcadia). We love the family feeling that defines ETG events, but Classcadia will be giving the place a bit of an upgrade to make their passengers even more comfortable. In addition to advanced lighting technology from another dimension, a highly-evolved new cocktail menu, their expert photographer to catch you at your most glamorous and a carefully-selected whiskey list, our flight attendants will be on hand to make sure you have everything you need for a safe and pleasant journey. Themed attire is encouraged, and they’ll have some surprises for their best-dressed passengers.

Wicked – Pre Halloween BashSan Francisco, California  Come party as The League Of Extraordinary Events takes over the very top floors of the downtown San Francisco Hilton. Take the elevator to the 46th and 45th floors to CityScape where you will find a breath taking 360 degree view of the entire city. This is a Pre-Halloween Costume Party that happens only once a year. So make you plans now and get your pre-sale tickets now. This event will sell out early. The main room will feature Top 40, Hip Hop, Mash Ups and ElectroDJ’s and the Latin Room will feature Salsa, Merengue, Reggaeton, Bachata and Banda. DJs include Dj Fuze [Digital Underground], Dj Lando1, Dj I-Cue, Dj RIM [BFL Productions], Dj Frisko Eddy [La Kalle 100.7] and Dj Walt Digz [Anejo Productions]. Gogo Visuals by Desired Temptations.

SoundEffect Presents: The 1st Annual Halloween OktoberfestShartlesville, Pennsylvania   SoundEffect is a collaboration of several of Pennsylvania’s most established production companies. Friday night will feature EDM all evening long with 7-17 Productions, FunkyBunch Productions and FunkBot Presents presenting Monsterz Under the Bed, The Nineties, Dirty Nitrous, Panty Droppaz, Neilium, Penpal, Ketabyte and DJ Chubby C.

Saturday, October 22

FriscoTecSan Francisco, California  Featuring 2 rooms of HOUSE, ELECTRO and HIP HOP with FRANK NITTY, NON SEQUITUR, ALLEN MASK, JOHN BARNACLE, ONE SOURCE, DJ ILLY D, G.A.B., ARTIFICIA, CANDLESPIT COLLECTIVE, BROTHA GRIM, ANGELO KNOX, THE I.M.F. and many more. The Main Room DJs include FRANK NITTY (HouseNation, 99.7 NOW), NON SEQUITUR and JOHN BARNACLE. There will also be filming for the ‘Love of Art’ , reedic drink specials, champagne giveaways, Moopi Champagne Challenge, Photography by iKy MeDiA and one big room full of bad bitches.

Fright Night Halloween Costume Dance PartyAlameda, California  A return of the classic Halloween Party! Come get your Ghoulish Groove on with the eclectic sounds of local favorite DJ “Fitz” as he spins the vinyl to your Devilish Delight! Sip Fiendish Drinks and nibble Zombie Snacks in the K Gallery while you rest between dances and await the Costume Contest festivities with the grand prize donated by Rock Wall Wines. Special Parking Lot appearance by Lucky Juju Pinball celebrating the art, science and history of pinball.